Saturday, October 25, 2008

New York: Finally, A Pardon for O'Hara?

Almost a year ago, PardonPower spoke with John Freedlander of New York Press. The topic was one John Kennedy O’Hara, a "political gadfly, perennial candidate and man with the distinction of being the first New Yorker since Susan B. Anthony to be convicted for voting" (see Freedlander's original story here). At the time, the 46-year old O'Hara was said to be "relentlessly pursuing a pardon" via a "thick" petition. He was working on then-Governor Eliot Spitzer (D) and had given the previous Governor, George Pataki (R), the same treatment.

Indeed, a pardon would seem an appropriate ending to a story that features no less than three very expensive trials and eleven appeals, $20,000 in fines, disbarrment, five years of probation and more than thousand hours of community service (picking up garbage). As O'Hara put it, “When I was convicted it set a precedent that when you register to vote you are subject to prosecution. If he pardons, that precedent is wiped out." In 1997, the New York Times observed:
The prosecution was unusual [because] virtually all cases of questionable residency claims by political candidates in New York City are handled as civil suits, in which the worst penalty, if the courts disbelieve the claim, is to be thrown off the ballot.
Freedlander's article last year also noted that, in New York, "by tradition, most pardons happen in December." As December of 2008 approaches, it seems appropriate to connect with John O'Hara once again. Stay tuned! Meanwhile, one can visit O'Hara's web site here.

1 comment:

hANOVER fIST said...

The prosecution was not only unusual, but was also politically inclined, as it was an effort by current Brooklyn District Attorney Charles "Joe" Hynes to rid himself of a prominent challenger to his reign.

Were you aware that our current Brooklyn DA has committed the same crime ascribed to John Kennedy O'Hara?

It is purported that O'Hara voted from an incorrect district...but are you aware that Hynes voted from a DIFFERENT BOROUGH?!? Or that Hynes resides in a different borough?

His residence, after all, is listed as being in QUEENS.

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